Fore! Andy Brickley hopes to put local athletes’ personalities ‘On Course’

Andy Brickley – There are plenty of golf television shows on regional sports networks. For the most part though, they focus on instruction or course layouts.

When NESN debuts “On Course with Andy Brickley” on Saturday, it’s hoping to use golf to bring out the personalities of area athletes in a more relaxed environment.

Brickley, who plays five or six times a week, knows his way around the golf course almost as well as he does the hockey rink.

“I hope they get a little more educated about the guest — who they are, what they are all about, their sense of humor, their sense of competition. The human interest aspect of it,” the former Bruin said during a filming Monday at Kernwood Country Club in Salem. “Some stuff can be repetitive if you’re reading papers and you’re online and stuff.

“To me, it’s not a golf show. It’s really about the guest and getting to know them”.

“You have to play for something, you want to do it in a great venue and you want to do it in a great sporting environment.”

He said that even though he worked in close proximity to and was on the same flights and stayed at the same hotels as Monday’s guest, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, Brickley didn’t know much about him other than what he saw at the rink.

“I’m getting to know Butch today. I know his history. I saw the job he did as the interim and earned the new contract,” he said.

“But now, I’m getting to know him. I can Google him, but I’m not going to get to know him Googling him. I’m going to get to know him playing golf.”

The exact timeline of the project is murky, but the Melrose native said that he and play-by-play partner Jack Edwards have discussed a similar concept for a while.

When it comes to NESN and any programming that does not involve a Red Sox or Bruins broadcast, Charlie Moore quickly comes to mind. “The Mad Fisherman,” which unlike “On Course” is produced out of house, has been a staple on the network for years and has successfully created a niche for itself bringing guests out on the water.

“It’s not totally different, but very, very different than that,” said Brickley, who admitted it was the first thing that came to his mind. “If you try to explain the show to people before it’s gone on the air, sometimes that comes into the conversation,

‘Think Charlie Moore, but I’m the host and it’s not as zany.’”

Monday’s taping, which will air next month, showed that it is two programs melded into one.

The first being getting to know the subject on a personal level, and the second being their thoughts on their current role or what made them prominent, combined with having a chance to make some of the top tracks in New England shine.

The final product is a half-hour program that will undoubtedly leave some quality back-and-forth on the cutting room floor.

The role of host is something new to Brickley, who has been an analyst with the Bruins since 1996, jumping over to the TV side a year later. He feels having it in a familiar environment on the golf course as opposed to in a studio will help ease the transition.

There is a commitment to eight episodes this season to see if it can build a base audience.

While it starts with people known for their work in the athletic arena, NESN’s bread and butter, Brickley sees the potential for something bigger.

“There’s so many different ideas for the guests, from the governor to the mayor to actors to football players,” he said. “I love the idea that if it can get to where we want it to be that we play as a foursome.

“That requires probably a bit more financial support and I think we can do that. If we got three Bruins and me out there, now the three Bruins guys can get after each other, it’s like the locker room, you get a little bit of the needling they know the buttons to push.”

The debut episode features Jim Rice at The International. Among the topics Rice discusses are his childhood in South Carolina, the circumstances to how he met his wife, and the 1982 incident when he carried a bloodied 4-year-old boy struck by a foul ball at Fenway into the clubhouse.